ASCA and 12-Step Programs
As mentioned above, ASCA is a recovery program based on psychological
concepts of recovery. While many ideas represented in 12-Step programs may be
valuable for survivors of child abuse, some are not. In particular, many survivors
have difficulty with the idea of "surrendering to a higher power." The challenge
for many survivors is to find the power to change within oneself, not in an outside
source. This is related to the fact that, for most survivors, the source of power and
control was always located outside of themselves, in their parent or other abuser.
To find the power to change from within is to break old, persistent patterns.
Some survivors also have problems with some 12-Step programs' recurring
themes of forgiveness, blame and misplaced responsibility. 12-Step programs start
with the belief that the individual has committed wrongs, is responsible for those
wrongs and must make amends to others for those wrongs. These beliefs are not
particularly applicable to survivors of child abuse. Adult survivors were abused as
children. As children, they had no control or choice over the abuse, and it was not
their fault that the abuse occurred. The abuse was the doing of another person (or
persons), and many adult survivors do not feel that they should make amends for
behavior that was not their responsibility and over which they had no control. It is
for these reasons, among others, that THE MORRIS CENTER believes that ASCA's
psychological approach is more suitable for recovery from child abuse.
However, this does not mean that ASCA is opposed to 12-Step programs.
One of ASCA's principles is a policy of "addition, not competition," with respect
to 12-Step programs, and we do not compete with 12-Step programs for your
participation. We believe that 12-Step groups are extremely useful and
appropriate for persons facing addictions and attempting to live clean and sober
lives. ASCA is deeply grateful to Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-Step
programs as the godparents of the recovery movement. Without them, there would
be no ASCA but we view ourselves as a separate program for a separate